Plumbing in Your Home FAQS
With a little know-how, you can avoid common DIY-plumbing mistakes. Prevent leaky pipes and circumvent other problems by reading this list of home plumbing frequently asked questions. At Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter, our team of experienced plumbers help thousands of homeowners address issues with plumbing in your home.
Let us guide you through the plumbing basics with straightforward answers to common frequently asked questions. From installing kitchen and bathroom faucets to eliminating drain clogs and unclogging tips, we have suggestions for nearly every situation. Learn more below.
How Do I Avoid Common DIY Mistakes?
One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure you’re always prepared. Make sure you always turn off the water before starting a repair. Also, double-check that you have all the tools you need before you start taking everything apart. If you’re clearing a drain, avoid using too much drain cleaner – less is more. Lastly, don’t be afraid to surrender. If you’ve done everything you can do, but still can’t fix the problem, call a licensed plumber.
What Are the Consequences of Putting Off Plumbing Repairs?
We know that you may have a good reason (or think you do) for putting off plumbing repairs. Yet, not addressing problems right away results in higher repair costs, water damage, and water loss that you’ll pay for on your utility bill. Additionally, mold remediation may be necessary and foundation repair may be needed. Are you willing to take this risk?
Is My Household Plumbing Releasing Harmful Bacteria?
It’s quite possible if there is contamination due to raw sewage leaks and mold growth. Addressing leaks right away, keeping healthy bacteria in septic tanks at acceptable levels, and calling for service at the first sign of a problem, are the best ways to keep your family safe.
What Is the Difference Between Hard Water and Soft Water?
Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium. While hard water is not harmful to you, it can wreak havoc on plumbing. Hard water leaves sediment behind that leads to corrosion and leaks. Soft water does not contain these minerals. It’s better for your plumbing system, which is why many people with hard water opt to install a water softener to improve water quality.
Can a Water Softener Really Protect My Household Plumbing?
Generally speaking, soft water is better for your pipes and drains. A water softener can help you achieve this. However, it’s always best to speak directly to a licensed plumber to determine the best softener to install in your home.
Can Energy-Efficient Plumbing Increase My Home’s Value?
You may be hesitant to change plumbing that is working well, but certain new plumbing installation services can increase your home’s value. Consider the following home plumbing improvements:
- Install energy-efficient toilets
- Convert to dual-flush toilets
- Add low-flow faucets and showerheads
- Replace conventional water heaters with tankless water heaters
Why Does My Faucet Make a Loud Noise When I Turn It Off?
Plumbing noises are irritating at the least. In some cases, though, they signal a greater problem. Common reasons for loud noises after running water include:
- Loose pipes
- High water pressure
- Damaged air chambers
- Broken washer or other faucet elements
Contact a Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter plumber to inspect the problem to determine the best repair solution.
Can I Kill Tree Roots in My Sewer Line without Using Harmful Chemicals?
Yes! At Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter, we use hydro-jetting (aka water-jetting) to break apart tree roots that have formed in sewer lines. If you’re looking for a DIY-option, purchase copper sulfate crystals and follow the usage instructions. This is an environmentally-friendly solution to kill roots that have grown into the line.
How Can I Prevent Leaking Pipes?
Some of the easiest ways to prevent leaky pipes are to do the following:
- Monitor water pressure and have a plumber install a water pressure valve, if necessary.
- Install a water softener to reduce the stress that hard water can have on pipes.
- Insulate pipes to prevent them from freezing.
- Have pipes checked regularly, especially after significant seismic activity.
How Do I Convert My Existing Toilet to a Dual-Flush Toilet?
There are several kits available to help you do this. Each kit should come with all the parts you need to convert to a dual-flush toilet. We recommend that you plan for 1-2 hours to complete the job. Of course, if you get stuck or rather let someone else do the work, give us a call for professional installation.
How Do I Find Hidden Water Leaks?
Finding hidden leaks quickly always keeps more money in your pocket. Here are a few things every homeowner can do:
- Visually inspect exposed piping for signs of damage and cracks.
- Take a meter reading before you leave for the day when you know no one will be using water. When you return, check to make sure the reading is still the same. If it’s not, you may have a hidden leak.
- Call a professional at Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter to perform electronic leak detection for precise results.
How Do I Keep My Sewer Line from Backing Up?
If drains and pipes back up when you do laundry or flush toilets, you might need sewer line repair. Sewer line service is not inexpensive, so you want to do everything you can to avoid it. We recommend that homeowners have a video camera inspection service done on their sewer line each year in conjunction with regular drain cleaning. Also, be careful about what you flush down the toilet and rinse down the sink. All of this waste moves through the sewer line and too much of the wrong thing leads to buildup.
How Do I Protect My Home’s Plumbing When I’ll Be Away for an Extended Period?
Leaving your home to go on a vacation for a week or two doesn’t require much preparation. However, if you’ll be leaving your residence for several months at a time, you will want to take certain actions. These actions include the following:
- Turn off water to washing machine.
- Shut off the water heater or, if your appliance is equipped, set it to vacation mode.
- Prevent sewer gases from backing up by putting RV antifreeze in toilets and sink traps.
- Have a trusted friend or family member check on your home from time to time to make sure everything is okay.
How Do I Protect the Pipes in My Home from Freezing?
Luckily, in Southern California, this isn’t something that we have to think about much. However, some of our customers have homes in other parts of the state or country where temperatures do cool off quickly. If you have a second residence where freezing pipes is an issue, we recommend the following:
- Insulate your pipes
- Keep cabinet doors open when piping is located on an exterior wall
- Leave the heat running (around 50°F is good) at your residence even when your away for long periods of time
- Disconnect outdoor hoses from faucets to avoid busted pipes
How Do I Get Rid of Calcium Buildup in My Pipes?
This is a rare occurrence, but if you have copper pipes in your home it’s a possibility. You may have heard to use vinegar to clean the pipes. However, it would take a lot of vinegar to get rid of severe calcium buildup. The best option is to install a water softener. Not only will the softener take care of calcium in piping, but it will also protect your dishwasher, water heater, and other plumbing appliances.
How Do I Restore Water Flow?
It depends on what’s causing the problem. Sometimes cleaning a clogged faucet aerator or fixing a toilet flush-valve fixes the problem. Other times, the problem is related to a leak in the system or something external. For example, if the city is flushing hydrants, this causes a drop in pressure. Check with your municipal water supply first. Then, if everything is good on their end, call a plumber for further examination.
How Much Drain Cleaner Should I Use?
Consult with a Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter specialists to determine the best product to use and proper amounts.
How Frequently Should I Have My Sewer Lines Jetted?
Because everyone’s situation is different it’s best to speak with a plumber to determine a cleaning schedule. The frequency is based on residential vs. commercial and the state of your plumbing system.
How to Avoid Plumbing Problems in a New Home?
Before you buy a new house, we recommend that buyers have an independent plumbing inspection done. A licensed plumber will check for the following:
- Age and condition of the water heater
- Perform electronic leak detection
- Inspect toilets, sinks, and floor drains for clogging or other damage
- Check for piping problems
Can I Drain Sewage on an Uphill Grade?
It’s possible but requires planning since gravity typically does most of the work. You may need to install a sewage injector. Contact a licensed plumber to inspect your property and make professional recommendations.
What Are Some Plumbing Mistakes that Can Ruin My Plumbing?
Residential plumbing is tough, but there are mistakes homeowners make that put their systems in jeopardy of failure. Here are some things to avoid:
- Don’t use drain cleaner regularly. If your drains continuously clog, have a plumber take a look.
- Shut off the water before making a repair (yes, people forget to do this ALL the time).
- Don’t join mismatched pipes or you’ll get leaks.
- Always use the right parts. Don’t substitute or make do.
- Stop working on your plumbing right now if you don’t know what you’re doing. Calling a plumber saves time, money, and a heap of frustration.
Is Plastic Piping Better?
It depends. There are plenty of pros in regard to using plastic – PEX – piping. It’s flexible and easy to install. It’s not prone to corrosion like copper pipes and more affordable. However, it can’t be used for hot water and not for outdoor plumbing. Plastic piping is also attractive to rodents and other critters that see it as a chew toy. If you’re installing new piping in your home, consult with a plumber to determine the best piping material for your needs.
Is Water Damage Covered by My Homeowner’s Policy?
Water damage caused by plumbing leaks is one of the most common insurance claims. While most of the time this damage is covered, we suggest you read your insurance policy to be certain. Deductibles and coverage vary by policy.
What Green Options Are Available for Plumbing in Your Home?
Adding green plumbing fixtures to your home increases its value and saves you money. Consider the following eco-friendly plumbing installations:
- Low-flow showerheads
- Faucet aerators
- Low-flow toilets
- Tankless water heaters
- Greywater systems
How Does a Low-Flow Faucet Aerator Work?
This type of faucet slows down the flow of water without sacrificing convenience. That’s because the water is pushed through the faucet using a burst of air. Homeowners who install these faucets don’t normally notice a difference in performance. To learn more about low-flow faucets, contact Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter.
What Is a Greywater System?
Greywater is water recycled after it’s been used in a household. Examples of greywater include bath and laundry water. While this water isn’t safe for food preparation or human consumption, it is ideal for watering lawns and flushing toilets. Installing a greywater system should always be done by a licensed plumber. Get in touch with Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter to learn more about this green plumbing option.
Why Is My Water Discolored?
There are several reasons for discolored water. However, when water is discolored it’s usually the result of minerals, pipe corrosion, algae, or resin beads. You may notice rust-colored water, yellow water, or, in some cases, black water spewing from pipes or filling toilets. Some types of discolored water are harmless, but not. Determining the exact reasons for the discoloration is important so the proper solution is applied. Water testing is the ideal way to do this. Consult with your local plumber to test the water and receive appropriate remedies.
Do You Recommend Smart Devices?
Absolutely! These products are generally eco-friendly and increase value. Consider adding the following to your home:
- Touch-free faucets
- Dual-flush toilets
- Smart irrigation systems
- Smart water valve shut-off devices to leak-proof your home
What’s Size Should My Water Pipes Be?
If you’re renovating or building a new home, it’s important that your water pipes are the correct size to carry the load. Municipal permits and building codes have strict requirements in order for your home to pass inspection. To ensure that the right-sized pipes are installed in your home always work with a licensed plumber.
When Do You Recommend Hiring a Plumber?
Sometimes you need a professional plumbing service. If you’re not sure how to fix something, you don’t have the right tools or permits/warranties require licensed plumbing repairs, that’s when you need to call the pros. Making repairs when you aren’t confident will only end in disaster and cost you more money in the long run.
Why Do I Need a Plumber to Fix a Leak?
Often, leaks are the result of a larger problem. You may be able to patch the leak temporarily, but what happens when it returns? Hiring a plumber to diagnose the problem and offer professional solutions ensures that you aren’t dealing with recurring leaks. Put the masking tape and plumber’s putty away. Instead, call your local plumbers at Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter for affordable leak repair.
Why Do Pipes Burst?
When water pressure builds, there’s nowhere else for it to go. That’s when pipes burst. While piping is able to handle slight fluctuations in water pressure, too much pressure, and the pipe breaks. Thick clogs also cause pipes to burst from the added weight.